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tv   Nightline  ABC  June 18, 2013 12:35am-1:05am EDT

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♪ i will steal you back ♪ funny how the smallest lie ♪ might live a million times ♪ i will steal you back ♪ back, back ♪ i will steal you back ♪ i will steal you back [ cheers and applause ] >> jimmy: this is jimmy eat world's new album. it's called "damage." you can see a bonus song at jimmykimmellive.com. thanks to them, to lil wayne. chris messina. apologies to matt damon. we ran out of time.
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"nightline" is next. thanks for watching. good night, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ tonight on "nightline" -- growing up underground. as many american kids consider summer jobs, we travel to the mountains of northeast india and meet coal miners as young as 9. it is like a trip into another century. but is there a glimmer of hope in this dark daily grind?
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don't hate this miss usa contestant because she's beautiful or because she says something dumb. >> we try to strive to -- >> tonight, how our viral culture pounces on moments of weakness and hecklers thrive in a hater nation. and from the blessing of the harleys to buddhist monks in the lap of luxury. we bring you up to speed on the day's buzziest stories in tonight's "feed frenzy." >> announcer: keep it right here, america. "night
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good evening, everyone. thanks for joining us. and we begin tonight with the kind of story that may make you want to hug your kids a little tighter in the morning and provide a bit of ammo the next time they complain about mowing the lawn. it is a story about children who spend their days underground
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digging for coal. it sounds like something out of charles dickens. but it is happening today. and their one glimmer of hope could be a lesson for every kid in this country lucky enough to get a summer vacation. tonight, abc's bob woodruff explores the child miners of northern india. >> reporter: deep in the mountains of northeast india this is how the workday begins. a treacherous five-story climb down slippery bamboo ladders. >> go about 30 yards down. >> reporter: no safety gear, no emergency exits. >> it just keeps going deeper and deeper. >> reporter: a journey that becomes even more disturbing when you see the young coal miner leading the way. >> you live down here. >> reporter: his name is pemba. and along with hundreds of other children he's desperate enough and small enough to work this dark and dangerous underground system of tunnels nicknamed rat holes. eight hours a day, six days a week, in one of the most
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frightening workplaces on earth. >> this could collapse, huh? >> reporter: where a good day ends with a few dollars. and if you're lucky, daylight. this is in the indian state of meghalaya. stuck between china, bangladesh, and myanmar, it's an isolated world but a land rich with coal and money to be made. >> so whenen you're coming down the road you can see this big pile of coal that's been dumped there by the trucks after they've mined it up on the hill. this is really the business, the industry for all the people down along the road. >> reporter: we meet women who spend their entire day busting up the coal. and the men who carry it to giant piles that are then trucked off to power factories in india and bangladesh. we've come here with rosanna lyngdoh, a social worker who grew up in this part of india. she warns what we're seeing is
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just the beginning. her children's rights group impulse recently uncovered something even more shocking in these hills. many of these miners are children. some not even teenagers yet. they found and photographed hundreds of them. >> what's the youngest child you've ever known about that worked in the mines? >> 9 years old. >> 9 years old? >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: she takes us to meet pemba, a boy who has been working these mines since he was 12. the ear buds and cell phone might make minimum look likehime a normal teenager. but when you hear the cough you realize this boy's life is different. >> he has seen accidents. like the roof has collapsed. >> is he to some degree lucky that you have survived? >> as long as god is there with him he doesn't feel scared of anything. >> reporter: pemba leads us into
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the mine, where he works with his uncle. at just over 40 years old, he's a veteran of these mines. if they dig all day, they might collect a pile of coal worth about 10 u.s. dollars. >> i'm going in. oh, my god. it's about two feet tall. how far does this go in? >> reporter: flooding isn't our only concern. tremors are felt here every day. and this region is due for a major earthquake. >> you don't even go on your knees. you just go on your feet. i can barely even sit. >> reporter: by now we've descended into total darkness in the confusing maze of tunnels. pemba seems to laugh off the danger. >> we're probably about 60 yards below the ground. >> reporter: the air is thick, and i'm finding it hard to
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breathe. to find a way out we rely on a single flashlight. >> the battery's going out. >> reporter: this kind of child labor has been banned in india since 1952. but it's up to each state to enforce the law. and any authority is easily bribed. plus, since india's constitution says the tribal and native people have first say over the land, there's not much to stop children like pemba, who have nothing else. >> no, no. let's go back. okay? >> okay. >> okay. >> reporter: as we work our way back up, it's hard to imagine spending another minute in this place, let alone eight hours a day. >> freedom. >> when we were crawling in there, how could we have gotten out? just by turning around? there's no other exit? >> no. there's no other exit. >> there's no other exit. >> [ speaking foreign language ]. >> no way? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: we meet more young
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miners who share stories of unspeakable tragedy. this boy watched as a collapse killed several of his friends. >> did they die instantly? or were they trapped in there? >> they were trapped in there and they died. >> they could never get them out. >> reporter: pemba's father was a miner too and had the same cough. he died a few years ago, leaving pemba with nothing. to survive pemba had to come here and grow up fast. he played us his favorite song. it's about love. >> do you have a girl sflend are you in love with someone? >> no. >> that's the only question you were able to answer without interpretation. >> he does a lot of laughing with us. he does a lot of smiling. does he just not know much outside this world, what life could be like? >> yeah, he has never seen life outside this place. because he works about five to six days a week. >> so pemba has lived in the
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coal world really his entire life. >> yeah. >> reporter: then we discover something that helps us understand why pemba risks his life down in that hole. >> good morning. how many people have fathers or brothers that work in the mines? all of you. that's almost everybody. >> reporter: it's a private school. the principal, a former child miner himself. he built it to give children here a way out. their families have managed to scrape together enough money to pay tuition, about 6 u.s. dollars every month. >> why is it that the government is not paying for this? >> the government has set some schools in some of the areas nearby. to get admitted in a school you need birth certificate. most of these kids done have
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birth certificates. >> what's your dream as a job when you grow up? you want to be a dancer? >> a teacher. >> that's nice. >> you want to be a pilot? you want to fly planes? >> reporter: and that brings us to pemba's dream. >> you're heading to school? >> reporter: it's for his little 9-year-old brother. his name is bibky. >> what grade are you in? kindergarten. >> reporter: whatever money isn't spent on food he spends here to pay for bibky's education. >> he had a dream. he says he would like his brother to go to school. he doesn't want his brother to be in the mines. >> reporter: like their father, like pemba, whose other wish is to save up enough money to leave this place by the time he's 25. that means eight more years of climbing down into the darkness of the rat holes. i'm bob woodruff for "nightline" in northeast india.
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>> education is the light at the end of that tunnel. thanks to bob woodruff. and coming up next, the beauty queen blunder heard round the world. and why the masses go mad for public failure. uh-oh! guess what day it is?? guess what day it is! huh...anybody? julie! hey...guess what day it is?? ah come on, i know you can hear me. mike mike mike mike mike... what day is it mike? ha ha ha ha ha ha! leslie, guess what today is? it's hump day. whoot whoot! ronny, how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico? i'd say happier than a camel on wednesday. hump day!!! yay!! get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. cheryl burke is cha-cha-ing in depend silhouette briefs for charity, to prove that with soft fabric and waistband, the best protection looks, fits, and feels just like underwear. get a free sample and try for yourself.
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the germans have a word for the perverse joy that comes in witnessing someone else's failure. schadenfreude. literally translated as "damage joy." but while they may have coined the term, americans seem to be
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perfecting it. especially on social media and especially after miss utah crashed and burned during the interview portion of the miss usa pageant. so why more scorn than sympathy in here's abc's john donvan. >> it back to education -- >> reporter: think of it because it's pretty easy to do as a nightmare. that it's you on that stage and you look great and you've done great in the competition so far but now they're asking you some question. she's asking it, the blond on the right-side box. she's saying "a recent report shows that in 40% of american families with children women are the primary earners yet they continue to earn less than men. what does this say about society?" and in the nightmare you have no time to think so you open your mouth and you hear yourself saying this while the music plays behind you. >> i think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive
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to -- >> reporter: uh-oh. now you're blanking. >> -- figure out how to create jobs right now. that is the biggest problem. and i think especially the men are -- >> reporter: where now, you're thinking. >> -- seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to try to figure out how to -- >> reporter: must finish. >> -- create education better so that we can solve this problem. thank you. >> reporter: phew. finished. smile, turn, leave, hope it was a bad dream. but it wasn't. marissa powell was competing in the miss usa contest this weekend when her mind blanked. >> how to create jobs. >> reporter: it could have been you stage fright. but no, it was quickly decided around the internet that she must be dumb. and with that thought her answer has gone viral and a great many people who will never get up on any stage are taking a great deal of pleasure in piling on. >> i was blushing at home. like oh, yes, you've got very pretty eyes. >> be pretty. shh. >> reporter: certain people messing up in certain situations attract that kind of pitchfork and torch crowd, like the one that populates the movie
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"frankenstein." everyone looking to get a kick in. >> raa! >> reporter: if you remember a vice president named dan quayle, it didn't really matter that he spelled the word "potato" wrong, but it will no doubt be in his obituary. >> our next-door neighbors are foreign countries. >> reporter: or a vice presidential candidate. when she showed herself knowing maybe something less about the world out there than she should have. it got translated into instant "saturday night live." >> and i can see russia from my house. >> reporter: or another vice president, defined as having foot in mouth disease for remarks like this. >> i'm proud to be president of the united states. >> reporter: among celebrities jessica simpson and her food labeling. >> is this chicken what i have, or is this fish? i know it's tuna but it says chicken. by the sea. >> reporter: and among sports figures, shaquille o'neal, asked about whether he visited the ancient greek parthenon on a visit to athens, "i can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to," he said. and the glee as the glamorous glitch in front of everybody. in a way it's what marissa
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powell is coming in for now. and why is that? >> i think there's just a part of it is that you're glad it's not you. and so you feel happier watching someone else fall. if it was you, it wouldn't be very funny. >> reporter: some of this is people not liking beauty pageants. as they used to be called. some of this is premised on thinking that the answers contestants give really matter. well, they only matter when they're bungled. which is why the other pageant-based viral video out there has long been miss south carolina caitlin upton at the miss teen usa pageant. in 2007 she was asked why so many americans can't find the usa on a map. >> i personally believe that u.s. americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps, and i believe that our education like such as in south africa and the iraq, everywhere like such as -- >> reporter: okay. you get it. train wreck. but something about the piling
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on bothers daily duck blogger gaby dunn too. >> it's a black-and-white narrative that ignores the fact that people are complex. right? show does a bunch of charity work. she has a terminally ill brother. but the only thing people are going to hear about her is that she flubbed this question. >> what the hell happened up there? >> reporter: interestingly, too, being infamous is still being famous. caitlin upton for a short time got invited onto some very hard to get onto shows. and that's what marissa powell has now. name recognition. so do what with that? >> what she has to do is own this. she has to say she made a mistake, accept it with grace, hopefully some intelligence, hopefully some humor, be part of the joke, make fun of yourself. don't be defensive. and she will move on. >> connecticut! >> reporter: speaking of name recognition, the name of the winner of that miss usa pageant, do you know it? it's erin brady. but she's the one who didn't mess up. so she's not viral. john donvan, abc news, washington.
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finally tonight, the pope who loves the sound of a throaty fatboy. the mayor who wants you to save that banana peel. and the buddhist monks who found nirvana at 35,000 feet. time for tonight's "feed frenzy." if the holy father can bless your soul and your family and your goldfish, guess it only makes sense that he can bless your harley-davidson. so to mark the 110th birthday of the iconic american brand, thousands of believers thundered into rome atop their milwaukee steel over the weekend. pope francis blessed their bikes and offered a prayer for every human life. especially the most fragile, defenseless, and threatened. like whichever poor italian gets caught in the middle of that pack while riding a vespa. no smoking.
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more bike riding. less soda. all are legacies of new york mayor michael bloomberg. and with just over a year to go in his 12-year reign looks like he's not done yet. by radically expanding the city's recycling program, residents of the big apple better get used to separating their half-eaten apples from last night's chinese takeout. or else. yes. mandatory composting could be a reality in a couple years. an effort to turn the 1.2 million tons of food waste buried every year into fertilizer or bioenergy. and no throwing your pizza crust to the pigeons doesn't count. and when it comes to leading a conscious low-impact life, let us emulate the buddha, who always flew private to avoid the riff rav at tsa and -- wait. what? no, actually, the buddha taught the ideals of simplicity and self-restraint. so why are these thai buddhist monks living large at 35,000 feet? with their aviator shades and so

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